The Groundwater Forest is a unique forest located in Africa and is known for having the highest concentration of baboons in the continent. This forest is sustained by a continuous supply of ground water from the nearby crater highlands, which supports the growth of an evergreen forest of mahogany trees, wild date palms, and giant fig trees. The forest is also home to three species of primates, including the vervet monkey, blue monkey, and baboon. Visitors can see the stunning blue monkey from the elevated walkway around the visitors center at the park gate.

The Groundwater Forest is famous for its self-guided walkway for blue monkey viewing, largest baboon troop ever recorded, lush forest, colorful birds, and dramatic Rift Valley views. The forest covers an area of 10 square miles and features springs, canopy forest, and other unique topographical features. The main species found here include the dwarf mongoose, blue monkey, vervet monkey, baboon, elephant, Dik Dik antelope, and Impala.

If you’re planning a trip to Tanzania, the Groundwater Forest is an attraction that you should not miss. This dense forest, located on the northern end of Lake Manyara National Park, is unique in that it gets its water supply from underground rivers, springs, and streams rather than the high rainfall that typically supports conventional rainforests. It is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including monkeys, birds, and even Tanzania’s first treetop canopy walkway. In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about visiting the Groundwater Forest, from how to get there to the best time to visit.

Groundwater Forest: An Oasis of Life

The Groundwater Forest is a dense forest situated at the northern end of Lake Manyara National Park. It derives its name from the fact that it is fed by underground rivers, springs, and streams rather than high rainfall like typical rainforests. This unique water source creates an oasis of life in an otherwise dry and arid landscape. The forest is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including several species of monkeys and birds, as well as other animals such as elephants and giraffes.

Getting There

There are several ways to get to the Groundwater Forest. One of the most popular is to take a walk through the treetop canopy walkway, which offers a unique perspective on the forest and its inhabitants. If you prefer to stay on the ground, you can also have game drives, both during the day and at night. Bird watching is also a popular activity, especially for breeding species.

Best Time to Visit

The Groundwater Forest is a great destination to visit at any time of the year. However, if you’re looking to maximize your chances of seeing wildlife, the best time to visit is during the dry season (June to October) when animals tend to congregate around water sources. Keep in mind that the park can get crowded during peak season, so if you prefer a more peaceful experience, it may be best to visit during the shoulder season.


The Groundwater Forest is located on the northern end of Lake Manyara National Park, visible from the Makuyuni-Ngorongoro highway. It is also situated at the foot of the Rift Valley wall and on the western outskirts of Mto wa Mbu. For more information on the location, please see the map below.

How to Get There

There are two main ways to get to the Groundwater Forest: by air or by road. If you choose to fly, the closest airport is the Lake Manyara Airstrip, which is a 10-minute drive from the forest. There are flights from most regions of the country to this airstrip.

If you prefer to drive, there are passenger buses that pass through the highway near the forest. However, you may still need a vehicle to get into the park, which should be arranged before getting to the area. Private or rental vehicles are also an option, with no preference as to the type of vehicle, though different vehicles may incur different fees. Park tariffs for a normal self-game drive usually include conservation fees, vehicle fees, and possibly camping or accommodation fees.

Where to Stay

If you’re planning on spending the night near the Groundwater Forest, there are several options available. One option is to stay at the park rest houses, which offer basic accommodation for visitors. Another option is to camp in designated camping areas, though you will need to bring your own camping gear. If you prefer more luxurious accommodation, there are several lodges and tented camps in the area, offering a range of amenities.

Things to Do in the Groundwater Forest

There are several activities that visitors can enjoy while exploring the Groundwater Forest. Some of the most popular activities include:

Canopy Walkway

The treetop canopy walkway is a unique experience that allows visitors to walk among the trees and see the forest from a different perspective. The walkway is about 370 meters long and hangs 18 meters above the ground.

Game Drives

Visitors can take game drives during the day or night to explore the park and see wildlife up close. Some of the animals that can be seen in the park include elephants, giraffes, zebras, and different species of monkeys.

Bird Watching

The Groundwater Forest is home to several species of birds, making it an ideal destination for bird watchers. Visitors can see a variety of breeding species, including Fischer’s turacos, Schalow’s turacos, and many more.


Hiking is another popular activity in the Groundwater Forest. Visitors can explore the forest on foot and enjoy the beauty of nature up close.


There are several picnic areas in the Groundwater Forest where visitors can enjoy a meal while taking in the beautiful scenery.

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